Last night, David Sedaris alternately amused and horrified a sold-out Benaroya Hall audience with stories of taxidermy, dentistry, and colonoscopies. If you've never seen him read before, you should know that Sedaris in person is a special treat: I've seen him read seven times now, and something you don't notice until you see him read to different audiences with different moods is that he's especially gifted at reading the temperature of a room and giving exactly as much dark comedy as the audience can take. Last night's audience followed him to some pretty hilariously dark places—pygmy skeletons and severed heads figured into one story, a truly nasty blowjob joke figured into another.
Sedaris always recommends a book by another author to the audience. It's usually a book he's been reading on his tour, or a book from a long time ago that he happens to be re-reading. Last night's recommendation was The Book of Deadly Animals, a non-fiction book by Gordon Grice. To hear Sedaris describe it, it's a collection of stories about how animals are real assholes to human beings, a miscellany of dogs, seals, hyenas, and other animals biting body parts off of unsuspecting human beings. His talk about the book convinced me to pick it up—I'll let you know what I think here on Slog. (I especially appreciated his plea that the audience buy Deadly Animals from Elliott Bay, who were selling books in the lobby after the reading. Sedaris said he knows audience members could save a dollar and seventy five cents by buying the book online, but he said "I urge you to save that money elsewhere" and to buy the book from a real, live bookseller instead.)
Related to all this: Tickets went on sale this morning for an evening with Ira Glass at Benaroya Hall on September 8th. The talk's official title is "Reinventing Radio," but I bet it'll wander, delightfully, all over the place. I'm also willing to bet that reading will sell out, so if you're interested, you should get your tickets now.